Category Archives: LGBTQ Issues

This year at the Supreme Court: Gay rights, gun rights and Native rights

The Supreme Court begins its newest session on the first Monday in October. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Morgan Marietta, University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Supreme Court begins its annual session on Oct. 7 and will take up a series of cases likely to have political reverberations in the 2020 elections.

Major cases this year address the immigration program for young people (“Dreamers”) known as DACA, the Affordable Care Act (again), and public money for religious schools.

Justices will also consider cases that involve several aspects of defendants’ rights: whether criminal convictions require a unanimous jury, minors can be given a life sentence and a state can abolish the insanity defense. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination’ Against LGBTQ Workers as Trump Pushes Religious Exemption Rule for Contractors

“This rule seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace—and we will work to stop it,” said the ACLU

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-14-2019

Photo from We Won’t Be Erased – Rally for Trans Rights, Washington, DC. Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr

Rights groups on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of attempting to permit workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees and other vulnerable people after the Labor Department unveiled a rule that would allow federal contractors to cite religious beliefs to protect themselves from bias claims.

On Twitter, the ACLU said the proposal “aims to let government contractors fire workers who are LGBTQ, or who are pregnant and unmarried, based on the employers’ religious views.” Continue reading

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‘Should Send Shockwaves Across the Nation’: Grave Warnings as McConnell Accelerates Right-Wing Takeover of US Courts

“Senate Republicans will stop at nothing to stack the courts with partisan judges who will push their radical agenda through at any cost.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2019

Screenshot: CNN

The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed 13 of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees this week, a major victory in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s years-long effort to reshape the nation’s courts and drag them further to the right for decades to come.

The breakneck speed with which McConnell has ushered young—and often unqualified—right-wing judges through the Senate confirmation process “should send shockwaves across the nation,” the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted Wednesday.

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To Keep Public Housing From Becoming ‘Panopticon of Automated Face Scanning,’ Democrats Push Facial Recognition Ban

“Surveillance of poor communities isn’t about safety, it’s about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2019

Two congresswomen are expected to introduce legislation banning the use of facial recognition surveillance in public housing this week. Photo: Change.org

Privacy and civil liberties advocates applauded a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday as they prepared to introduce legislation to protect public housing residents from the rise of facial recognition surveillance.

In a letter sent to their fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) invited co-sponsors for the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, which would stop public housing complexes which accept funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from installing facial recognition tools. Continue reading

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Police Fire Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets at Protesters Demanding Puerto Rico Gov. Rosselló Resign

“We are rising up because we deserve better.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-18-2019

Photo: @beowulf_cr/Twitter

Police deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters in Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan late Wednesday on the fifth consecutive day of mass demonstrations to demand the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

The Miami Herald reported from the scene as hundreds of protesters and police faced off on the colonial streets outside La Fortaleza—the governor’s mansion—in the neighborhood of Old San Juan. Continue reading

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‘Embarrassing Nepotism’: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Appoints Son as Ambassador to US

One critic said that it’s “only a matter of time now before the son of Brazil’s wannabe despot has an official meeting with the daughter of America’s wannabe despot.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

Eduardo Bolsonaro (L) joined his father, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for a March 2019 meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. (Photo: Eduardo Bolsonaro/Instagram)

In a move critics condemned as “embarrassing nepotism,” right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday appointed his son Eduardo to serve as ambassador to the United States.

Though the appointment still needs approval from Brazil’s Federal Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a confirmation vote by all members of the upper house, Eduardo has said he would resign from his current post in the lower house of the country’s National Congress to serve as ambassador. As Eduardo put it, according to Reuters, “If it is a mission given by the president, I would accept.” Continue reading

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US Army Tweet Inadvertently Triggers Responses Revealing ‘Real, Painful, and Horrifying Human Costs of War’

“How has serving impacted you?” the Army asked. The responses poured in.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-26-2019

“This Memorial Day,” said Win Without War, “let us remember the real, painful, and horrifying human costs of war.” (Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Army may have gotten more than it bargained for when it recently asked on Twitter, “How has serving impacted you?”

The question, posed just before the nation officially marks Memorial Day, brought attention to “the real, painful, and horrifying human costs of war,” said advocacy group Win Without War. Continue reading

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Europe’s far-right bid to take back ‘Christian Europe’

Focus on Russian ‘interference’ risks ignoring the growing role of American religious conservatives in fuelling the far-right surge.

By Mary Fitzgerald. Published 5-24-2019 by openDemocracy

Handmaids outside a church in Verona, Italy 2019. | | Photo: Federica Delogu

“The Bible, borders and Brexit” will “make Europe great again”, declared Ed Martin to roaring applause. The Republican pundit who co-wrote ‘The Conservative Case for Trump’ was speaking at a global gathering of religious conservatives in Verona this March. Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, was a headline speaker.

Verona, Italy’s ancient ‘city of love’, is emblematic of how Europe is changing. It is now a stronghold for Salvini’s Lega party which, together with right-wing populists across the continent, is challenging the laws and social norms that have defined European life for decades. Continue reading

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As GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’, New Reports Detail Damage Done By Trump’s Far-Right Takeover of Judiciary

“In just under two years on the bench, these narrow-minded elitist judges have already harmed workers, consumers, voters, immigrants, reproductive rights, and many more.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-3-2019

Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence and Jon Kyl before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Photo: Office of the Vice President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As Senate Republicans rammed through a rules change enabling faster approval of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, two advocacy groups released reports on Wednesday showing the far-reaching and long-lasting damage his confirmed federal judges have already had on the nation.

People for the American Way (PFAW) and Alliance for Justice (AFJ) both published studies Wednesday about Trump’s success in appointing 92 judges to district courts, federal appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court—with PFAW writing that the president’s effort to remake the judicial branch in his own image could be disastrous for a number of marginalized groups. Continue reading

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Mitch ‘Nuclear Option’ McConnell Poised to Turn Steady Stream of Trump’s Right-Wing Judges Into a Flood

Critics warn that even if Democrats regain control of White House and Senate, the flood of judges could mean there will be no more vacancies to fill post-2020

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly planning to change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to confirm right-wing judicial nominees to lifetime appointments. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly pursuing a “nuclear option” rule change to make it easier to push through a flood of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judges.

Under the new rules, nominees for lifetime appointments on lower courts would only require a simple majority of votes rather than the current 67. Critics condemned the move as “hijacking” the federal judiciary and pointed out that even if Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House in the next election, they may not have any more spots to fill post-2020. Continue reading

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